Our work in the Netherlands

Our footing in the Netherlands is of vital importance; without it, there would be no program work, research, or any other activity that allows us to make a difference. Therefore, we cherish what we have and at the same time try to strengthen that footing.



NLR has a graying private donor list that has shrunk from 48,454 to 47,186 contributors due to retirement, old age and death. We succeeded in reaching the target of €2.5 million in donations in 2016. Four so-called cold mailings to potential donors resulted in 1,700 new donors. A successful test using our mailpack as insert in several magazines generated about 1,500 donations. About half of these donations came from new donors, which brings the total of new donors to about 2,500. Our telemarketing campaign to obtain firmer commitment from our donors by replacing one-off donations with direct debits also proved to be successful. Finally we created a new major donor proposition for reducing stigma in Indonesia and sent it to major donors and potential major donors. With this promotional campaign we raised more than the amount needed to start the project.

In 2017 the target for donations remains €2.5 million. We plan to continue the inserts in magazines to attract new donors (in addition to Direct Mail activities). Furthermore, we will send a progress report about the stigma reduction project to the project’s major donors and we will keep trying to reactivate ‘dormant donors’.

Legacy gifts

The past two years NLR received substantially less than the budgeted amount of 2.5 million from legacies. For 2016 the amount received was € 1,660,441. To remedy this situation, we drew up a 4-year legacy-plan. One of the actions in this plan is to realize a considerable increase of applications for the so-called erfenisdossier, the Legacy Folder. This is a booklet we offer to NLR relations in which they can consider and plan their legacy. We use this tool to get in contact with our donors about legacies. We developed a flyer specifically about legacies, which we enclosed in the newsletter. This resulted in over 80 applications for the Legacy Folder.

For 2017 the plan is to repeat this in order to extend the communication about legacies and their importance for our organization. Furthermore, we plan to participate in a joint legacy campaign with other NGOs. In line with the declining income from legacies, the target for legacies has been adjusted to €1.8 million.

Contribution by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery

The Dutch National Postcode Lottery contributed a splendid grant of €1.35 million in general support in 2016. At the Goed Geld Gala in February we witnessed George Clooney’s inspiring speech. Soon afterwards, a very dedicated team started working on a proposal for the Dream Fund, called ‘Stop the transmission of leprosy.’ Out of 21 short proposals, ours was selected together with 2 other NGOs’ and we were invited to elaborate on our idea. Mid-November we had to pitch our Dream Fund proposal to the board of directors. It was very motivating to work on this ambitious project and in February 2017 we were confirmed that our Dream Fund project was approved.


We have 3 groups (in Groningen, Limburg and Land van Heusden-Altena) of hundreds of volunteers who collect money every year.

  • In the weeks approaching World Leprosy Day 2016 (24 January) our national house-to-house collection drive was carried out by about 1,000 collectors, raising €26,630.
  • Volunteers at the Leprosy shop in Deventer raised €28,000 with the sale of second-hand items. This was spent in our Nigeria projects.
  • Pupils of the Laurentius School in Breda collected €17,325 with a sponsored run.
  • The Dutch Mayors Football Team (NBE) played against business clubs of Dutch Premier League Football Organizations and raised over €20,000.

We would like to extend an enormous thank you to all our volunteers who turned 2016 into a very successful year!

Institutional donors

Our 2016 target for institutional fundraising was to have a portfolio of €3.7 million in externally funded projects. We managed to reach our target. Our portfolio includes one big project of €3.5 million in Nigeria that will end in 2017. The coming year we will aim at more diversification in our institutional fundraising portfolio. We submitted 33 proposals for funding, of which 4 were successful. We have learned that instead of sending many proposals to many donors, it is more effective to focus on building strategic relations with selected donors who are interested in our work.


Communication tools

Storytelling is our main instrument to inform, convince and engage people. Our newsletter, De Klepper, is our principal information distribution channel to our donors. Published five times a year, it offers stories from the field, project updates, and information on major activities in The Netherlands. Our websites were updated and improved throughout the year to involve people in our work as much as possible. In order to equal our 2016 success, we will have to publish our newsletter 6 times next year. Our new campaign will be the main driver for new visitors to our website.


Special NGO-deals with media operators generated a combination of radio, TV, outdoor and print advertising. For outdoor advertising we aimed at an average of 800 spots a month, whereas in actual fact the result was an average of 1,200. For TV we aimed at gross ratings of 1.5 million moments but thanks to the Olympic Games broadcasts we achieved over 4 million. For radio our 2016 target was 100 commercials and we got 540. For print advertising our target was 10 expressions and we got 43 in total. In 2017 we want to increase our TV and outdoor exposure as a firm start of our new campaign.


On World Leprosy Day 2016 (24 January), we organized the 2nd edition of our crochet event in support for the fight against leprosy. About 3,000 crochet fanatics gathered at more than 100 locations across the Netherlands to crochet the dog ‘Lotje’, a cartoon character from the long-running Dutch comic book Jan, Jans en de kinderen. They sold them for 10 euros each to their families and friends. Crochet guru DenDennis developed the pattern.

Also, we were present at the ‘KreaDoe’ fair in Utrecht. Over 5 days we sold 230 crochet packages and patterns. In addition, we had 1,364 orders via our webshop.

Unfortunately, a trial with fundraising cooking events did not succeed. Event evaluation taught us that the required volunteer investment was too high.

Do-You-Have-The-Guts-trip to Vietnam

In October 2016, 8 senior students and 2 teachers of the Calvijn School in Rotterdam and the Comenius School in Capelle travelled to the leprosy community Quy Hoa in central Vietnam. They stayed there for 10 days to experience firsthand what it means to live with leprosy. To share their impressive trip the students kept a joint blog about their experiences in the community.

Prior to the trip, both schools had been busy organizing fundraising activities for months. The donations served to cover the costs of the trip. More importantly however, the schools will fund the materials needed by the shoe workshops in Vietnam to produce orthopaedic shoes for leprosy patients. Now that the students have returned home, they are going to share their experiences at high schools throughout the Netherlands in the hope that these schools will then be triggered to start their own support activities for the NLR.


A well-known ambassador can attract extra attention to the cause. This is why we like working with Dutch actor Huub Stapel, who has supported us for 4 years now. He performed in our TV production ‘Haak ‘t verschil’. Cartoonist Jan Kruis, most well-known for the comic strip Jan, Jans en de kinderen, Janny van der Heyden (Heel Holland Bakt) and Curt Fortin all featured in the TV production, full of enthusiasm about the crochet events. Crochet guru and ambassador DenDennis presented the whole series of programs. The series was broadcast in January 2016, just before World Leprosy Day.